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Downtown businesses not concerned about planned weekend armed protests

Government buildings secured ahead of FBI warning
Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 7:07 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Downtown felt different Friday ahead of planned armed protests at the state Capitol Sunday.

The FBI is warning police in all 50 state capitals to be ready for potential unrest Saturday through Wednesday when Joe Biden becomes President.

Friday, a fence went around the Capitol building and Lansing City Hall.

The Romney State Office Building was boarded up. So was the MLive office on Washington Square.

MLive was vandalized during the riot in May.

However, business owners in downtown Lansing aren’t worried because of the extra security.

“It is surprising but it is also comforting,” said Stewart Powell, who owns Linn & Owen Jewelers. The store was one of many smashed during the riot in May. “I’m very confident that this weekend will amount to probably a peaceful demonstration maybe.”

Powell said he’s normally closed Sundays and this weekend is no different.

But he will be taking a few extra precautions when he closes Saturday, like making sure nothing is left in the window display.

“I think people are perhaps ashamed of what occurred. I hope, and that it won’t happen again,” he said.

Other places aren’t taking any chances. The Lansing Art Gallery is closed through next week.

A note on the door said events planned for this weekend will happen next weekend.

Lansing Police Chief Daryl Green is encouraging people to stay away from downtown this weekend.

The last time a fence surrounded the Capitol was more than 20 years ago during the KKK protests in the mid-1990s.

“I’m kind of surprised by everything I see these days. I never thought we’d be in this position with this kind of threat, this kind of violence domestically. It’s really sad we have to get to this point,” said John Truscott, Vice-Chair Capitol Commission.

The fence will stay around the Capitol for at least a week.

The House and Senate canceled their sessions next week to keep those who work at the Capitol safe.

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